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ISLAM UNDER FIRST FOUR CALIPHS   33
The Murder of Othman, A.H. 35 (656).—As the years
went by dissatisfaction with Othman grew deeper. His
favouritism towards his own kinsmen of the Omayyad
branch was resented by the Hashimite branch at a time
when the Beduins of Kufa and Basra were ready to rise
against the supremacy of the Kureish. In A.H. 34 (655)
Said, the Governor of Kufa, was expelled by its ever-
turbulent inhabitants, and Othman, instead of inflicting
any punishment, weakly yielded to the storm and
appointed another Governor.
In the following year forces from Kufa, Basra, and
Egypt converged on Medina, and after an initial failure
besieged the palace. The octogenarian Caliph was
deserted by the leading men of the city and murdered,
but met his end with dignity and courage.
The Election of Alty A.H, 35 (656).—After this ghastly
tragedy there was a reign of terror in Medina, during
which Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, was
elected Caliph.    As a boy he had been one of the earliest
converts to Islam, and during the Prophet's life he had
shown great heroism and conspicuous ability on the battle-
field.    But of late years he had lived at Medina^ wherej
he enjoyed respect, but had taken no leading part  inj
public aflairs.
Muavia) the Governor of Syria.—Among the ablest
and most powerful of the Arab chiefs was Muavia, whose
father, Abu Sofian, had commanded the Kureish at the
battle of Ohod, but had afterwards been converted to
Islam. Muavia, who was destined to found the Omayyad
dynasty, had distinguished himself in the early campaigns,
and had been appointed by Omar to the governorship of
Syria, a post which he held for many years. He had
visited Medina before the assassination of his kinsman
Othman, and had begged to be allowed to lead a Syrian
army to his defence, but the aged Caliph had refused
his proffered aid. After the murder Muavia acquired
possession of Othman's blood-stained shirt and hung it
up in the mosque at Damascus, but he refrained from
any definite action until he knew what course Ali would
pursue.
VOL. II                                                                                   D